Diagnosis takes only 15 minutes with new biosensor

October 2nd, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 2 (IANS) Diagnosing cancer, multiple sclerosis, TB and HIV could be as simple as using a pregnancy testing kit, thanks to a new biosensor. Scientists at the University of Leeds have developed a biosensor that uses antibodies to detect biomarkers - molecules that indicate disease - much faster than current testing methods.

The technology was developed through a European collaboration of researchers and commercial partners in a 2.7 million Euro project called ELISHA, according to a Leeds University press release.

It features new techniques for attaching antibodies to innovative surfaces, and novel electronic measurement methods that need no reagents or labels.

ELISHA was co-ordinated by Paul Millner from the faculty of biological sciences at Leeds, and managed by colleague Tim Gibson.

Said Millner: “We believe this to be the next generation diagnostic testing. We can now detect almost any analyte faster, cheaper and more easily than the current accepted testing methodology.”

Currently blood and urine are tested for disease markers using a method called ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay). Developed in the 1970s, the process takes an average of two hours to complete, is costly and can only be performed by highly trained staff.

The Leeds team are confident their new technology - which provides results in 15 minutes or less - could be developed into a small device the size of a mobile phone into which different sensor chips could be inserted, depending on the disease being tested for.

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